How does the daily consumption of cashew nuts affect health?
Thanks to their high nutrient and vitamin content, cashew nuts are generally considered to be very healthy. Researchers have now found that cashew nuts can even help lower blood pressure and also improve healthy cholesterol levels.
The scientists at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, the Spanish Instituto de Salud Carlos III and other research institutes found that cashew nuts help lower blood pressure and have a positive effect on cholesterol. The doctors published the results of their study in the journal "Journal of Nutrition".
What were the effects of eating cashew nuts?
For the study, the experts examined a total of 300 participants with type 2 diabetes. Half of the subjects were asked to consume 30 grams of unsalted, raw cashew nuts a day. After three months, various parameters were then examined. It was found that the blood pressure had dropped by 5 mmHg. In contrast, the so-called high-density lipoproteins (HDL) had increased by 2 mmHG, the researchers say. There were also no harmful effects on body weight or sugar levels in the body.
Cashew nuts contain a lot of saturated fats
The health benefits of other nuts such as almonds and walnuts have already been determined in various studies. So far, only a few studies have been carried out on cashew nuts. Nuts are rich in monounsaturated fatty acids and polyunsaturated fatty acids. In contrast to other nuts, cashew nuts contain a higher amount of saturated fats, the authors explain. About twenty percent of the fat in cashew nuts is of the saturated variety. The researchers wanted to determine whether this type of saturated fat has an effect on cholesterol. The doctors explain that the nuts are only beneficial if they are taken in their raw form. However, the benefits are lost if the nuts are fried or roasted with salt and other spices.
What was the diet of the participants made up of?
The test subjects were advised to eat a diet with no more than 1,400 daily calories. 60 to 65 percent of the energy came from carbohydrates, 12 to 25 percent from fat and the rest from protein, the researchers explain. Half of the subjects who consumed the nuts had to reduce their carbohydrate intake so that the recommended carbohydrate levels were not exceeded. Biochemical tests were then carried out on both groups. This was to ensure that they followed the recommended diet and that the nuts were consumed.
How did the cashew nuts affect the subjects?
The participants in the intervention group (subjects consuming cashew nuts) showed a 1.9-fold greater reduction in blood pressure than the participants in the other group. There was also a 16-fold increase in HDL cholesterol compared to the other group.
Many Asian adults suffer from dyslipidemia
Previous studies have shown that nuts at breakfast improve satiety and reduce consumption at the second meal in adults, the experts say. The current study is extremely significant because previous research has shown that almost 80 percent of adult Asian people have dyslipidemia, which is mainly caused by low HDL cholesterol levels. Among the type 2 diabetics considered, dyslipidemia was found in 86 percent of the men and 98 percent of the women.
Nuts protect against coronary heart disease
The results of the study are not surprising when you consider that recent studies have already shown the benefits of healthy fat, the researchers explain. For example, people in the Mediterranean would have the lowest incidence of coronary artery disease because their diet was rich in nuts. (as)